Top 10 attributes of high performing teams

According to Jon R Katzenbach and Douglas K. Smith, “A team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, set of performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable”. Teams are the fundamental unit for getting work done in high performing organizations. Success depends largely on the collective contributions of the team members towards a mutually agreed outcome.

10. Depending on the outcome expected from the team, an optimal size with the right mix of complementary skills is important. It will enhance constructive collaboration, communication, and participation from all members. For complex deliverables a size of 6-10 members is optimal.
9. There must be implicit trust amongst members of the team. An environment that fosters dealing with honesty and integrity will nurture great work.
8. The team should feel comfortable in dealing with conflict.
7. Select a deviant on the team to encourage divergent thinking and making the right choices.
6. Well defined, documented, efficient processes shared will ensure the effective utilization of team resources. This addresses “how” work gets done.
5. Members should be held personally accountable, and empowered to hold each other to their commitments.
4. A successful team helps each other achieve ones’ goals in times of crisis.
3. Clear transparent communication is at the core of high performing teams.
2. Leadership is a shared role in high performing teams. The org chart could have a named leader.
1. It is important to have a vision, values, charter, goals, with specific measurable metrics that matter that is embraced in by all members. This addresses the “why” and the “what” aspects of teams.

Reading References – The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
On Teams – Harvard Business Review
The Encyclopedia of Leadership by Murray Hiebert and Bruce Klatt
The Wisdom of Teams by Jon R. Katzenbach and Douglas K. Smith

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